McDowell – King’s Moss, Northern Ireland

When Jim and I were planning our trip in September of 2013, including the cruise around the British Isles, we carefully selected our side trips to correspond with anything genealogical I could find in that region. Given my colonial Virginia and Appalachian heritage, I have lots of family history in the British Isles, so I felt connected just about everyplace.

One of the stops I was most excited about was the port of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Jim and I planned to visit the Giants Causeway on the far northern shore, but on the way is what I really wanted to see – Kingsmoss Road in Newtownabbey.  On the map below, B is Kingsmoss Road located between Belfast (A) and the Giant’s Causeway (C).

Ireland Giant's Causeway Map

Why was I so anxious to see King’s Moss Road? Well, that’s the story of what genetic genealogy can do for you, even in a less than optimal set of circumstances.

Let’s back up several years.

The McDowell project is one of those that doesn’t have a project website at Family Tree DNA, nor a public website of any kind. I’d love to provide a link here, but I can’t.  My cousin tested some years back and the project administrator provided me with a spreadsheet showing results and his matches.

The project situation is certainly less than optimal – but still – what I needed was that “one good match” and I indeed, did receive that.

Mary McDowell was born about 1785 and she married William Harrell in 1809 in Wilkes County, NC.

Mary’s father was Michael McDowell, a Revolutionary War veteran, born about 1747. He served from Bedford County, VA and after the war, settled in Wilkes County, NC with his wife, Isabel, last name unknown. Around 1810, Michael, along with a number of other families who were intermarried and lived adjacent moved to what was then Claiborne County, Tennessee, on the border with Lee County, Virginia, in what would in the 1840s would become Hancock County, Tennessee. Mary McDowell and William Harrell were among this group.

Michael’s father is believed to also be Michael McDowell found on a 1755 Bedford County tax list. In 1752, Michael was in Halifax County, Virginia and he was selling his father’s land, in Baltimore, Maryland.

His father’s name was Murto or Murdo McDowell, probably actually Murtough McDowell. We know nothing about him except that he was dead in 1752. Much research remains to be done on this line.

However, DNA testing has allowed us to jump the pond, without knowing who Murtough’s ancestors were or where they were from.

The descendant of Michael McDowell whose test I paid for had three matches, according to the administrator. She sent me a paragraph or so provided by those three matches. One match is from another son of Michael McDowell, one is from Pennsylvania and the common ancestor with that individual is likely overseas in the old country, but the third match was the gold mine.

This gentleman’s father was born in Ireland, outside of Belfast, and he knows exactly where.

“There is a Kings Moss Road and I have been on it. There is also a place called Kings Moss. I have relatives there and my father was born there. It shows Kings Moss on his birth cert.”

This extremely valuable piece of information tells me several things. First, it tells me that this is likely where Murtough was from as well. During this time, the Scotch-Irish were immigrating in record numbers, and while McDowell is originally a Scottish name, it is found in the area of Ireland, now Northern Ireland, where the Scotch-Irish were forced to live – the Ulster Plantations. And, the McDowells are Protestant, very important in Ireland, according to the McDowell match, suggesting strongly that they indeed were not Irish, who are staunchly Catholic. They were strongly Protestant in Wilkes County too, the denomination typically known as Primitive or Hard-shell Baptists.

Kings Moss Road is a very rural area. It’s not a large city, not a “go to” type of location, even though it’s only 15 miles or so out of Belfast.

So I was incredibly excited that I was going to be riding within sneezing distance from where the McDowell family lived, driving on the same roads that my ancestor probably walked on, maybe driving livestock, maybe tending fields or searching for food. You can see, below, it’s just a little divit, a dog-leg, off the main Mossley road, maybe half a mile long, in total. Kingmoss road actually ends at the intersection of B56 and Springwell road. The B balloon is about half way on Kingmoss road. I would be able to see it! I could take a picture or maybe even a movie.

Kingmoss Road

In this satellite view, I can see the fields and farms and the McDowell family surely farmed one of them.

Kingmoss satellite

But, unfortunately, Lady Luck was not with me and Lady Fate took over instead. The British Isles was experiencing severe storms including 25-30 foot seas. The port of Belfast was closed, and we could not put into that port. Sometimes they change itineraries, reversing ports, but on this trip, Belfast was cancelled entirely. I was crushed. We had come so far to be turned back. But there was nothing to be done.

So, I did what any technologist would do, I checked to see if this area of Northern Ireland had street views in Google Earth. I was amazed to discover that it did. So I took a virtual, turn by turn, tour. Come along!

Kingmoss turn by turn

Kingmass turn by turn 2 cropped

Kingmoss turn by turn 3

Kingmoss turn by turn 4

It certainly wasn’t quite the same as being there, but it’s decidedly better than nothing at all. I wonder what other places might be available to visit virtually that I had never considered previously.

And of course, being a genealogist, I’m now wondering where the closest church is to this location, and if the records still exist for that church. Murtough was likely born sometime around 1700, if not earlier. Could I possibly be that lucky???? Is Lady Luck with me? Has she returned?

Occasionally, synchronicity steps in. Do you ever look for a sign? Something hopeful….maybe from the ancestors themselves???  Like my friend who was hunting for her ancestor’s gravestone, with absolutely no luck.  Not watching where she was walking, she stepped into a hole and turned her ankle, causing her to fall.  As she lay there on the ground taking stock of the situation, she realized that to get up, she was going to have to roll sideways until she could reach a stone to help her stand up.  She looked at the stone directly beside her and it was indeed, her ancestor that tripped her up.

Sometimes, you just notice something incredible. Now I know there is probably, most probably, no correlation or relation at all. But still, I want to share with you something I discovered.

Kingmoss satellite 2

I’m going to zoom in on the upper left hand corner of this satellite view of Kingsmoss Road.

Kingmoss satellite 3

And zoom again. Note the field with the spiral.

Kingmoss satellite 4

Below is an aerial view of my property.

Labyrth bird's eye view (1)

To give you an idea of perspective, that’s my daughter and I standing by the labyrinth. It’s just over 90 feet across.

Is there a gene for this???

Mary McDowell, the White Wife, 52 Ancestors #17

William Herrell was born in 1790 in North Carolina. In 1809, in Wilkesboro, he married Mary McDowell, born in 1785, the daughter of Michael McDowell who was born in 1747, probably in Bedford County, Virginia, and who died in 1834 in Claiborne Co, Tn. in the portion that became Hancock County later. Most of what we know about Michael is from his Revolutionary War pension application made in 1832. Michael is probably the son of an earlier Michael, who is probably the son of Murtough McDowell who died in 1752 in Baltimore, Maryland, but that is a story for another time.

The 1800 census of Wilkes Co., NC shows Michael McDowell, Jacob McGrady (the minister who married William Herrell and Mary McDowell), and both John Herrell Jr. and Sr. (spelled Harral) on adjoining pages. Based on this evidence, pending further investigation, it is presumed that Michael McDowell is Mary and John’s father and John Herrell Sr. is likely the father of William Herrell.

John McDowell states in his affidavit that he left Wilkes County about 1810 and that Mary and William were married about a year before that. We have every reason to believe that Mary McDowell and William Herrell relocated about that same time to the Mulberry Gap area of then Claiborne, and now Hancock County, Tennessee.

The early tax and census records of Wilkes Co, NC reveal that the Herrell (Harral, Herold, Herrald), McNiel, Vannoy, Sheppard, and McDowell families lived just houses apart. Those families also migrated about the same time to the area that was originally Claiborne County, Tennessee and would eventually become northern Hancock County, near the Lee County, Virginia line and lived in close proximity as neighbors there too. Today, both a Harrell cemetery and the cemetery on Michael McDowell’s land remain. The McDowell cemetery is shown below, under the tree.

McDowell cemetery

It’s unknown where Mary is buried, but probably in the Herrell Cemetery on River Road, shown below, in one of the many unmarked graves.

Herrell cemetery

The first record in the Tennessee-Virginia area we have shows Mary and William Herrell actually living in Lee County, probably just across the border, in 1812 when they purchased land.

May term 1813 – Oct. 10, 1812 John Claypool and Eliza his wife of Claiborne and William Harrold of Lee Co Va. for the sum of $200 a tract of land lying in Claiborne on the N side of Powell River including a stripe of land on the opposite side of said river included in a tract of land conveyed to William Bails by James Allen bounded as follows: Beginning on the back line in a deep hollow at two hickories and at a dogwood, thence to a white oak marked AB (with the right side of the A the same as the back of the B) thence to the south line of said tract containing 100 acres more or less it being part of a tract of 440 acres conveyed to said William Bails by James Allen as above said conveyance bearing the date Jan. 20 1809. Witnesses William Briance, Michael McDowel (his mark), William Hardy. Registered Dec. 3, 1813.

Slanting misery survery drawing

Their land was aptly named, Slanting Misery. Having climbed this land hunting for the cemetery, I can vouch for the appropriateness of the name. Below is a panoramic view of Slanting Misery.

Slanting misery panorama

William Harrell served in the War of 1812. Much of what we know about him and his family comes from his pension application papers, and those of Mary following his death in 1859. William served beginning January 14, 1814, and was discharged May 13, 1814, being in Solomon Dobkins company.

In terms of Mary’s life, she married in Wilkes County in 1809, moved to a new state and environment in 1812 and bought land with her husband. Three months later, her husband marched off to war, leaving her with at least one infant, if not 2 or 3 children by that time, and having to get the crops in the ground in the spring in spite of his absence. She could also have been pregnant at the time, given that women of that era were either pregnant or nursing for their entire married, reproductive lives.

In his deposition taken on March 5, 1855, William states that he is 65 years old and enlisted as a private in Captain Solomon Dobkins company of Tennessee Militia in the regiment commanded by Samuel Bunch in the “War with the Creek Indians,” and served 14 days. According to his military records, he served for 4 months, not 14 days. He could not have traveled to the area in Alabama where he served and back in 14 days.

On July 5, 1871, William’s widow, Mary states she is 86 years old and that she lived on Powell’s River in Hancock County. She further states that William was discharged at Fort Strother in May of 1814 and that William “helped to build Fort Williams in the fork of the Coosey and Talley-Poosey Rivers”.

She says that she was married under the name of McDowell in 1809 at Wilkesboro NC by Jacob McGrady and that William died on October 8, 1859 on Powell’s River.

John McDowell filed an affidavit in 1872 stating that he is 90 years old (so born in 1782) and was acquainted with both William Herrell and Mary McDowell before their marriage. He states that he was at their wedding. Further testimony in 1872 by the postmaster of Mulberry Gap, John Woodward, attests to the honesty of Alexander Herrell and James E. Speer as witnesses to Mary McDowell Herrell’s loyalty. Alexander is believed to be her son and James possibly her son-in-law. There are Spears buried in the McDowell cemetery.

John McDowell is mentioned in the early settlers of Lee County along with a Michael McDowell who is a Revolutionary War veteran, born in 1745 and serving from Bedford Co Va.

The known children of William and Mary McDowell Harrell are:

  • Mildred born 1816 married Hiram Edins
  • Nancy born 1820, never married
  • Mary born 1822 married William Edens
  • Malinda born 1829

All of the above daughters are unmarried and living at home in 1850 census.

  • Abel Herrell, born 1824 married Nancy ? probably about 1847, since in 1850 the census shows that they had Margaret M age 2.
  • Another possible son was Alexander Herrell born 1826 who married Lydia ? and in 1850 had Sirery E age 3 and James J age 2.
  • Daughter Margaret was born about 1812, married Anson Cook Martin who died about 1845, and in 1850 was shown with the following Martin children:
    • Evaline b 1830 married Alexander Calvin Busic
    • William b 1833 married Rachel Markham
    • John b 1833 married Hannah Eldridge
    • Selerenda b 1834 married Pleasant Smith
    • Manerva b 1838
    • Mary b 1839 married Edward Hilton Claxton
    • Malinda b 1842 married James Parks
    • Alexandria b 1844

All of the bolded individuals, if they had daughters who had daughters to the current generation, could provide the mitochondrial DNA of Mary McDowell. There is a scholarship for anyone who fits that bill. In the current generation, the candidate can be either male or female, because women give their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children, but only females pass it on.

Margaret then married Joseph Preston Bolton about 1850 and had:

o   Mary Ann Matilda Bolton born about 1851 married Martin Mordicai Cuningham

o   Joseph B. Bolton born on September 18, 1853 and married Margaret Claxton (Clarkston, Clarkson) in 1870 in Hancock County, eventually moving to the little Sycamore Community of Claiborne County. Both Joseph and wife Margaret are buried in the Plank Cemetery. Their daughter Ollie Bolton, born in 1874, died in 1955 in Chicago Ill, married in 1893 to William George. Ollie Bolton was my grandmother.

Mary McDowell Harrell died sometime between 1872 and the 1880 census.

Unfortunately, we don’t have anything in her own voice except for her application for widow’s benefits. The application itself is actually a form.

From all outward appearances, Mary’s life seemed to be pretty routine for the time in which she lived. Unfortunately, we don’t even have a full accounting of all of her children. Many things have been pieced together.

But there was one thing that always seemed unusual to me. Mary, in fact, none of the Herrell’s were ever involved in any of the church records. This was a relatively small, tight-knit, community and there was only one, then two, churches. We have the minutes from both of them, and all of the other neighbors were members. Where was the Harrell family? Their eldest daughter Margaret Herrell joined after she married Joseph Bolton. But no place were her parents in evidence. Why? That is extremely unusual in this time and place.

Well, as it turns out, there was a skeleton in the closet. There was indeed another entire story, a drama, in fact, going on, perhaps not so quietly, behind the scenes.


It started to unravel back in 1983 – the secrecy I mean, when I received a letter from cousin Louise, who, in essence threatened my life if I ever told anyone while she was still alive. She was in her 80s then, so I think I’m safe now. However, if I turn up dead….hunt for Louise!

It seems that William Herrell had another wife, a black wife. Not only that, according to the family story, but he built the black wife a house on the other side of his property, that would be Slanting Misery, and he went back and forth between the two. As you might imagine, this was THE talk of the family, apparently, for generations, and cousin Louise remembered when she was small, which was the early 1900s, her family would still whisper about the young female slave William Herrell bought, and who would then become his defacto wife. It’s no wonder that not one Herrell set foot in church.

Ever the skeptic, I wanted to see if there were any records to support that claim. After all, there was another unrelated Harrell family living about 20 miles away in Claiborne County. Maybe they had the wrong William Herrell. It’s certainly possible. I mean, it’s not like he had an unusual name like Ebenezer.

On the 1830 census, William Herrell had no slaves.

On the 1836 tax list, William had one slave.

On the 1840 census, William had 1 female slave age 10-24, so born before 1830 and one young male slave child under the age of 10.

The 1850 census shows William with 1 mulatto male slave, age 12.

The 1860 slave census shows Mary Herrell and 5 others owning a 33 year old male mulatto slave. These 5 would have been William’s heirs.

The 1870 census shows Cannon Herrell, age 35, mulatto, living with Mary Herrell and her spinster daughter, Nancy.

1870 Herrell census

Cousin Louse did not know Cannon’s name, but other family members did. Cannon was believed to have been William’s son by Harriet, the slave. Whether she was really a slave, unable to leave, or not is questionable. Some say yes some said no. But one thing is clear – legally, Cannon was the property of William Harrell, and then his heirs of law, as evidenced by the 1860 slave census. That just hurts my heart.

Oral history tells us that Mary raised Cannon as her own child after his mother, Harriett, died. That she took him in with her children and raised them all one and the same. The same oral history tells us that Cannon cared for her in her old age.

Indeed, this seems to be confirmed by the 1870 census. He was 35 years old, clearly not a slave anymore, certainly marriageable, especially with assets, but still, he stayed and took care of Mary. In 1880, Mary was gone, Nancy was living in the house alone, and Cannon had married and was living in a house beside 2 of the white Herrell boys.

Cannon died in 1916 and his death certificate gives his mother’s name as Harriett Herrell and his father was “not given.” Cannon was born about 1838.

In 1838, William and Mary McDowell Herrell had been married for 29 years. Mary was born in 1785, age 53, too old to be having children in 1838. Her youngest child was 9 years old. Harriett, on the other hand, was born between 1816 and 1830, based on the census, and assuming she was at least age 13 when she had Cannon, she would have been born between 1816 and 1825. So in 1838, Harriett was someplace between 13 and 22, at least 30 years younger than Mary, and possibly more.

William was slightly younger than Mary, according to his deposition, born in 1790, but still, certainly old enough to have been Harriett’s father, and to know better. It’s difficult for me to believe that the relationship between William and Harriett was entirely consensual, especially given the bonds of slavery. How could she have said no, if she wanted to? Had be freed Harriet, and she stayed by choice, I would feel better about this. Hancock County was formed in 1845 and it’s records burned, so it’s possible that there are records we’ve missed. I find it unlikely that he freed Harriett, because Cannon, her son, is shown enslaved in 1860, legally, if not functionally.

The family story says William would live with one wife until she got mad and threw him out, then he’s go live with the other one until the scenario repeated itself. Maybe the women had a common bond in their dislike of the situation. I have to wonder how Harriett felt about this situation. Was her life better because she bore William’s child? Is that the best she could hope for? Sadly, she never lived to see emancipation. She died between 1840 and 1850, someplace between the ages of 15 and 34, depending on her actual birth year and when she died. In 1865, she would have been between 40 and 49, had she lived that long. Maybe she and Mary would have lived together with their children after William’s death.

I can only imagine the heartbreak that Mary must have felt, her marriage vows having been betrayed by William, and then the persistent presence of the “other woman,” Harriett, and then her child. The “other woman” was only a child herself and certainly did not have a say in much of anything, if anything at all. The other woman was also the age of Mary’s children, and Mary had to know that a slave didn’t get to vote in the matter. Worse yet, it’s likely that Harriett actually lived with William and Mary, at least initially, so this betrayal probably took place in her own home. This situation was clearly William’s responsibility and that was likely clear to everyone, which explains why none of the family attended church. Mary was also probably embarrassed, but there were very few options for her and none for Harriett.

This also wasn’t the deep south were these kinds of master/slave activities went on regularly and unnoticed by virtue of the massive number of slaves on hand and the “everyone does it” type of justification. Slaves were rare in Hancock County, very rare. There was no call for slaves as the ground was relatively nonproductive and could barely produce enough for one family. No slave labor was needed. This begs the question of why William bought a young female slave in the first place. I’d suggest maybe that it was to provide household assistance to his wife, but I’d also suggest that perhaps his wife would have chosen not to have that much help. I also have to wonder why Harriett didn’t have more children. Perhaps she died having a second or third child. Oral history says “children” not child. If they lived as a family in one house, that also explains why Mary took Cannon as her own. Cannon may never have known any mother except Mary, depending on his age when Harriett died. Regardless, Mary had to have a big heart to do that, to take Cannon, love and raise him as her own, given the circumstances. He obviously repaid her in kind. Family love sees no colors, even in the post-slave south. This also explains why my family for the next two generations lived in the “mixed race” area of Hoop Creek.

Oral history goes on to say that when William died, he left his land to all of his children, including his children by Harriett. I only found evidence of one of Harriett’s children that reached adulthood. In 1870, Cannon does have assets, but at the time William died, he would not have legally been able to leave anything to Cannon because Cannon was still enslaved. It’s certainly possible that Mary left Cannon something, but we’ll never know because those records were burned during the Civil War.

And now, the question that I know you’re all dying to ask. Was Cannon really the son of William Herrell?

A few years ago, I was contacted by descendants of Cannon Herrell. It was interesting to compare the family stories. It was evident that there was certainly a common thread in both families stories.

We undertook various DNA tests to determine just that. Was Cannon William’s son? Were we related?

Between the three of us, we spent quite a bit of time locating the right people to test, and convincing them of why we needed the test. Here’s a picture of the three of us when we started our journey of discovery.

Herrell reveal

And then, the time came. We elected to meet at the Cumberland Gap Homecoming that was sponsored by our Cumberland Gap DNA group, and we would reveal the results. Of course, we also used the opportunity to teach about how to utilize the various kinds of DNA.

On the first day, we did a teaser, a background story. We created a composite of all of the ancestor photos that we could find of both sides that would potentially be related if William was Cannon’s father.

Herrell collage

So, what do you think?

Is William Harrell the father of Cannon Harrell?

The Human Family Tree

A great introductory documentary by National Geographic called the Human Family Tree featuring Spencer Wells, and lots of New Yorkers who DNA tested.  Like all Nat Geo productions, the photography and video itself is beautifully done.


Anne Woodward Estes, the Mariner’s Widow, 52 Ancestors #16

Anne or Ann Woodward married Robert Estes, a mariner, in St. Nicholas Church in Sholden on December 2, 1591, a Monday. Given when she married and her age when she last bore children, she would have been born around 1573 or so.

We don’t know a lot about Anne, we don’t know who here parents were and we know nothing of her early life, before she married. We do know that the Woodward family would have been members of the St. Nicholas of Sholden church at that time, and that if her marriage record exists, surely other church records exist as well. Her parents and perhaps her birth are surely recorded here.

St Nicholas Sholden

St. Nicholas was constructed in the 1200s and portions of the original church remain. It is located on the original Sandwich/Deal road which passed right through what is now the graveyard with the doorway being on the north side of the church, now enclosed. The present road was constructed in 1795, so after Anne was long buried in Ringwould.

This church was heavily damaged during WWII, in April 1941, but in the nave, some of the original components still remain, believed to date from 1070-1120. The church was not reopened until 1947 when repairs were complete. The bell tower and north isle were added in 13th and 14th centuries when the church was only a few hundred years old.

Here is the Shoulden church in 1918 before it was damaged in WWII, but it is surely more beautiful today.

St Nicholas Sholden 1918

St Nicholas Sholden door

The bride would have come in from the rear of the church, through these doors, and would have walked down this aisle, unless she entered from the now converted original porch, shown below. This porch would be a remnant of the time when the road passed through the churchyard on this side of the church. Today, this is the “back” but at one time, it was the front.

St Nicholas Sholden original porch

She would have proceeded to the nave, where she and Robert would have been married, hopefully on a bright sunny day like the day was when we visited in September 2013.

The first child born to Robert and Anne Woodward Estes was born and baptized in Shoulden, but in 1595, they moved down the road a few miles to Ringwould where they would become members of St. Nicholas church there, and where they would live the rest of their lives. There are no Woodward records in that church, so Sholden was definitely the home church of the Woodward family.

The baptismal font in which Anne’s first child was baptized still exists today. The basin and stem are 14th and 15th century, respectively.

St Nicholas Sholden bapistry crop

1. Matthew Eastes, baptized 11 June 1592 at Sholden, Kent, died as an infant.

2. Sylvester Eastes, baptized 26 September 1596 at Ringwould, Kent;

3. Alice Eastes, baptized 26 March 1597 at Ringwould, married Thomas Beane, 28 October 1628 at Ringwould. They had children Christopher (1628); Richard (1632) of St. Mary the Virgin, Dover, Kent; Mary (1636) of Great Mongeham, Kent; Sarah (1638) of Westminster, London; Judith (1642); and, Thomas (1643) of All Hallows Staining, London. The bolded entries reflect possibilities for mitochondrial DNA testing of descendants.

4. Matthew Eastes, mariner, born 1601, Ringwould, Kent, died 1621, buried 4 June 1621, St Leonard’s, Deal, Kent, he married Margaret Johnson, 23 November 1620, Deal, Kent. Margaret died and was buried 15 October 1622, St Leonard’s, Deal, Kent. Children: Martha (1621) of Deal, Kent, and William (1621-1687) of Ringwould, Kent.

5. Robert Eastes, Jr. was baptized 29 May 1603, Ringwould, Kent, he married Dorothy Wilson, 31 January 1634, Ringwould, Kent. Children: Robert (1635), Thomas (1636), Sylvester (1638), Sarah (1640), infant (1643) of Ringwould, Kent, Matthew (1645-1723) and Richard (1647-1737), both born at Dover, Kent and died in America. This is the “Northern Estes” line that settled in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

6. Thomas Eastes, baptized 2 June 1605 at Ringwould, Kent, died in 1671, at Ringwould, Kent, he married Joan Wilson, 21 November 1636, at Ringwould, Kent.

7. Susan Eastes, baptized 30 October 1608 at Ringwould, Kent.

8. John Eastes, baptized 3 March 1610 at Ringwould, Kent, he spent the latter years of his life in poverty, living on parish assistance. John died in 1684, at Ripple, Kent.

9. (Male) Eastes, born in 1616 at Ringwould, Kent, died at birth.

ISt Nicholas Sholden interior

The church is beautiful, inside and out.

St Nicholas Sholden cemetery

Since we don’t know who Anne’s parents were, but we do know that this was her home church, I surely have to wonder if they are buried in this very hallowed ground. They must surely be here. Perhaps her grandparents too, and siblings. Even after Anne and Robert Estes moved, Anne was surely back in this church regularly throughout her lifetime.

The church records at St. Nicholas of Ringwould tell us about her children’s baptisms, beginning in 1596. She had additional children in 1598, 1605, 1608 and in 1610 according to church records, and then 1616 happened. It was a terrible year for the Estes family, and for Anne in particular. She and Robert had been married for 25 years. They had several children at home ages, 6 through 20. Anne was pregnant again, expecting her last child, given that she was about 43 years of age. But then tragedy struck. On November 4th, Robert Eustace, householder, was buried. And then 3 days before Christmas, a baby girl was born, and died, before she could be baptized.

Anne was left with 5 children and no husband. Fortunately, her eldest 2 children were males. That’s probably all that saved her. Five years later, her son, Matthew, a mariner, age 20, would die as well, followed by his wife a year later. Who raised their baby? Did Anne take that child to raise as well?

Nov. 4, 1616 – Robert Eustace, householder buried

Dec. 22, 1616 – daughter of Robert Eustace, not baptized, buried

St Nicholas Ringwould entrance

In 1625, Anne’s children began to marry in this church.

Her son Sylvester Estes was the first, marrying Ellen Martin. That must have been a joyful day, and the next year would welcome Ellen’s first child into the world, baptized there as well, from the same baptismal font in which Anne’s own children had been baptized.

St Nicholas Ringwould bapistry

More grandchildren arrived and in 1628, her daughter was married as well.

And then there is this solemn entry for Anne’s own death in 1630.

May 18, 1630 – Anne Esties, widdowe, buried

Anne must have been ill, because she made a will on April 4, 1630. It was probated June 9, 1630. Estes researcher Don Bowler found it years ago, but when it was requested from the UK National Archives, they reported that it doesn’t exist. Perhaps Estes was spelled in some odd way.

Anne, Robert and their daughter born in 1616 are all buried in the churchyard at St. Nicholas of Ringwould. Their son Matthew who died in 1621 may be buried here too, assuming he didn’t drown. That could have been Robert’s fate as well. Both men were mariners.

St Nicholas Ringwould cemetery

Perhaps they are buried someplace near this centuries old yew that stands silent sentry over generations of Estes descendants of Robert, the mariner, who died in 1616 and Anne, his wife who died in 1630. This yew would have seen their burials.

St Nicholas Ringwould yew

There is a Woodward DNA project, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone who has tested that can track their lines back to Kent. I’ll gladly offer a scholarship to any Woodward male from this Kent line. I would also be very interested in obtaining the transcribed church records from Sholden in Deal in order to determine the parents of Anne Woodard.

I would also love to offer a scholarship for mitochondrial DNA testing for anyone who descends from Anne through all females to the current generation. If we can determine her parents and siblings, she may also have sisters who may have eligible descendants today. Alice had 2 daughter, but nothing is known of Susan aside from her baptism record. Alice is the only female to survive long enough to marry and reproduce. Alice had 3 daughter, Mary, Sarah and Judith burn in 1636, 1638 and 1642. We know nothing about what happened to these daughters. Maybe they are lurking in your tree???

If you descend from the Kent Woodward family or have access to the Sholden church records, please contact me!!



The White Cliffs of Dover

Jim and I discovered when we were booking the DNA journey that the airfare was a pretty big chunk of the cost of the trip. We also like to cruise, and in particular, we love the Mediterranean. However, there were no cruises leaving the right place at the right time for the Mediterranean, but there was one leaving, as luck would have it, the day after we returned to London from the Cotswolds and the Ribble Valley, out of Dover, just down the road. Well, in England, everything is just down the road, as compared with the US. It’s an island, after all.

Woo hoo. Off we go on another adventure.

This cruise lasted 12 days on the Carnival Legend and circled the British Isles as well as stopping in two European ports. My ancestral families were from all over this part of the world, so I can’t go anyplace over here without some kind of ancestral connection. It’s a wonderful problem to have!!!

Our friend, Said, came to get us in his magic carpet Mercedes and we had a wonderful opportunity to chat on the way to Dover.  He also took me to a couple of quilt shops on the way to the boat, although there weren’t many. I did manage to find a couple of things, including a couple of tea towels. Sometimes, you just have to make do.

I had been wanting to see the White Cliffs of Dover for years, and had been looking forward to this for weeks. You see, my Estes family is from Kent, just 8 miles up the road. They were fishermen, mariners, and yes, they would have been intimately familiar with these white cliffs. They would have been a landmark for the sailors and fisherman then just as they are today. The castle is still there guarding those cliffs too, probably looking much the same today as 400-500 years ago, especially if you add a little mist or fog to hide the automobiles and modern roads.

The first photo is of the fort and castle of Dover and the second is a panoramic view of the white cliffs.  In WW2 our pilots used the white cliffs as a sign they were near safety.

White cliffs of Dover

I wonder what my ancestors would think if they knew that some 500+ years after they were fishing here that their 10 times great-granddaughter would come back and would stand right here.

Dover and Me

Of course, my Estes family wasn’t the only ancestral family that lived here. We’ll talk about the Estes line when we return. Yes, Jim and I will be visiting the family lands, churches and villages for a few days when we come back into port. I couldn’t be this close and not visit.

However, I was unsuccessful in determining anything about the families of the women from this area who married Estes men. I’m hopeful that perhaps someone will see this list and recognize a name from this region. I did check the associated DNA projects without any luck.

Robert Eastye married Anne Woodward in Shoulden, Kent, just up the road from Deal, on December 2, 1591.

Their son Sylvester Eastye married Ellen Martin just down the road in Ringwould, Kent in 1625. Ellen was reportedly from Great Hadres or Hardres, spelled both ways, nearby.

Records for these families are found in or referring to Great Hardres (A), Deal (C), Shoulden (C), adjacent Deal, Ringwould (D), Waldershare (between D and Dover), Nonington (E) and last, Sandwich (B), where our immigrant ancestor was apprenticed. Records for the Martin or Woodward family from these locations would be immensely helpful. It appears from the church records that families actually were surprisingly mobile within this area.

Kent map

After boarding the ship, during the welcome reception, we met our old friend, John Heald. He was the cruise director on our first cruise too. Just suffice it to say that, ahem, he remembered Jim. It was great to see John again. He brightens every day and is quintessentially English.

This, by the way, is the lobby area. These ships are “brightly decorated,” to say the least.


Over the years I’ve discovered a couple of things about cruising. First, shawls are very lightweight and can dress even a t-shirt up enough for dinner. Black works with any color. Second, you’ll want to carry a small purse, but it doesn’t need to be any bigger than to hold a lip gloss and your room key. You don’t need anything else on board the ship. This one I’m carrying, my Mom crocheted for me at least 20 years ago, “in case you have someplace fancy to go.” Well, Mom, I do, and you’re along for the ride.

I know this next photo looks like I’m in jail, but I swear, I’m not. This sunset shot was taken from our dinner table out the window. I know, you’re not buying a word of this are you?


Oh yes, another cruise tip…your American Express card will get you out of jail around the world, not that I know personally of course. I do know from the couple that got themselves stranded (twice) and missed the ship’s departure in Istanbul on a previous cruise that your American Express card will purchase plane tickets, limo service, and save your sorry butt when you go into Asia where they tell you not to go! And yes, they did it, not once, but twice, on the same cruise. Let’s just say that the first time everyone felt a little sorry for them, but the second time, they WERE the entertainment until the end of the cruise. A honeymoon they won’t soon forget, or live down.

Now Jim and I have a tradition, and you’re just going to have to suffer through it along with us on this cruise, since you’ve joined us on our journey. Every night, while you’re at dinner, your cabin steward creates a “towel animal” and leaves it on your bed. So every night when we return to our cabin, our towel animal gets posed with something from our day. Yes, I know it’s kind of corny, but it’s a lot of fun and we’ve done it for years now, since our very first cruise. So it’s our tradition!

Oh, and by the way, my first cruise was a genealogy cruise to the Caribbean with my Claxton cousin and his wife who I had met through genealogy and are now my Claxton/Clarkson DNA Project co-admins! Yes, I shamelessly recruited them.

When my cousin’s wife asked if I wanted to go on the cruise, I walked into Jim’s office and announced, “I’m going on a genealogy cruise.” He pronounced, “Well, I’m going with you.” I said, “But you don’t even like genealogy.” He said, “So what.” Well, he has a point. You can’t be bored on a cruise or if you are, it’s entirely your own fault.

Towel seal

Today our towel animal, who might be a seal, is proudly displaying fabric from the quilt shops, along with the business card from the shop and a Carnival pin.

Bon voyage!!!

Ellin Martin (c 1600 – 1649) a Bride in Ringwould, Kent – 52 Ancestors #15

Ellin Martin was born around 1600, possibly in Great Hardres (Hadres,) and was married to Sylvester Eastye November 24, 1625 in the church in Ringwould, Kent. He died before 1667 when his daughter was married. Ellen died in 1649 with a will that tells us at that time she was living in Waldershare. Documentation by other researchers states that both documents, her marriage and her will, respectively, state that she was “of Great Hardres,” but I have not seen evidence of this in either document. I find it difficult to believe this very specific piece of information was not located someplace, though because it is too specific, and a bit distant, to have been grabbed out of thin air.

The location called Great Hardres in the record indicating where Ellen Martin was born is now called Upper and Lower Hardres, noted as twin villages. We did not get to visit either as they are about 20 miles distant and much closer to Canterbury. If Ellen indeed was born here, they it’s likely that this church is ripe with her relatives and ancestors.

I’m not terribly clear what record indicated that Ellen was in fact born in Great Hardres. It’s reported to be her marriage record from 1625 in Ringwould, but transcribed records provided by the church do not include or indicate this information. What this means is that it’s quite likely that relevant information to these records may not all have been transcribed and it would probably be worth our while to have these records retranscribed, including Martin records from Ringwould. This information could also be in the Bishop’s returns, the records that were supposedly duplicates sent periodically by the church to the Bishop.

I am still somewhat baffled about how she would have met Robert Estes who lived some 20+ miles distant. That’s a long way to walk and that was the transportation available at the time. It’s more plausible that her family moved to Ringwould, in which case, there might well be additional records that contain valuable information. There are some Martin records in Ringwould’s church records, but not many.

The church below is St. Peter and St. Paul at Upper Hardres Court. Parts of this church date from the 1200s. A newer church was built 3 miles away in the twin village of Lower Hardres in the 1800s, but this would have been the church in which Ellen Martin was baptized in about 1600. I would surely love to see these church records.

Upper Hardres church

Sylvester married on 24 November 1625, at Ringwould, Kent, Ellin Martin. Ellin was born about 1600 and died in 1649 at Ringwould, Kent, two years after the birth of her last child, our ancestor, Abraham. Ellin’s will states she was born at Waldershire, but at her marriage she reportedly gave her origin as Great Hadres, and her name perhaps as “Hellen Martine.” I don’t see any birth location reflected in the original records below.

Ellen Martin marriage

Here is the entire page that includes their marriage. You can see that this was a small church, with only 2 marriages that year, 14 christenings and about as many burials.

Ellen Martin marriage page

St Nicholas at Ringwould

The church at Ringwould was certainly beautiful and served as a respite for me that fine fall day in Kent as well. It seems that Jim and I had a bit of excitement with the rental car, and just suffice it to say that I desperately needed a break, even though we had only driven about 6 miles, on the wrong side of the road of course, from where we rented our car in Dover. But that hair-raising story will have to wait.

The village of Ringwould was first recorded more than 200 years before the Domesday survey, in an Anglo-Saxon Charter dated 861 AD under the name of Roedligwealda (the forest of Hredel’s people). The site of a Roman period farm has been identified close to the present Ripple windmill; which is in the parish, although metal detector finds and other relics which have been found, suggest that the area was populated well before the Roman invasion. The oldest coin ever found in England was discovered by a metal detectorist working close to Ringwould. It seems probable that the village was established sometime during the Anglo-Saxon period, probably in the 6th century AD, and certainly well before the Norman Conquest of 1066.

The village of Ringwould has about 350 residents and is about the size today that it was when our ancestors lived nearby or in the village itself. The church connects both front and back street and is, in essence, the center of the village. It was also the center of village life. Musters were help here for defense and below the church in the field, target practice was held with arrows hewn from the cedar trees in the churchyard.

St Nicholas Ringwould path

The walkway to the church through the center of the village remains today. It used to be a cart path, and it had to be at least 30 inches wide in order to accommodate the width of 2 pall bearers and a casket.

However, on that special day, on Monday, November 24, 1625 there are no caskets approaching the church, but instead, a wedding party. After walking past the old forge, the building on the right, the gate to the church yard would be up ahead. Inside the gate would be the gravestones of all of those relatives who had gone ahead, and perhaps a few siblings who never made it beyond childhood. This was not an anonymous place. There is no room for grief today, although the bride may have paused for a moment to quietly pay her respects if her parents were in the churchyard waiting silently for her, or perhaps her grandparents, as they motioned her inside with feathered, wispy fingers.

St Nicholas Ringwould entrance

When Sylvester and Ellen got married, the bride entered from the doorway of the church and the first part of the service was actually conducted in the doorway. I’m thinking that in Catholic times, it would have been a blessing or cleansing of some sort. Ellen would have walked up the walk to the church, in the center of Ringwould, and into this door the day she married Sylvester.

St Nicholas Ringwould door

Many of the events of their lives together would transpire here as well, including, just 10 months later, the baptism of their first child.

Sylvester and Ellin Martin Estes had the following children. Note that descendants of females with bolded names would be potentially be mitochondrial DNA candidates.

1. Robert Eastes, baptized 10 September 1626, Ringwould, Kent, died 1692 and buried 23 June 1692, Waldershire, Kent, married Elizabeth, who died in 1676 at Waldershire, Kent, and was buried 8 August 1676. Married second Margaret Coachman, 26 June 1688, Hadres, Kent. Children: Robert (1652), Elizabeth (1653), Susan (1655), Silvester (1657-1692) of Waldershare, Kent;

2. Anne Eastes, baptized 25 November 1627 at Ringwould, Kent, died young;

3. Silvester Eastes, (a female) baptized 31 May 1629 at Ringwould, Kent, married a Nash.

4. Susan Eastes, baptized 30 March 1631 at Ringwould, Kent.

5. Thomas Eastes, baptized 20 January 1633, Ringwould, Kent, died 15 April 1682, Pelham, Kent, married Sarah and had children: John (1665) of Waldershare, Kent, and later of Acrise, Kent.

6. Richard Eastes, baptized 5 October 1634, at Ringwould, Kent.

7. Mary Eastes, baptized 2 October 1636 at Ringwould, Kent.

8. Anne Eastes, born 1637 at Ringwould, Kent. [There is some doubt as to whether this child belongs to this family.]

9. Nicholas Eastes, yeoman, baptized 9 December 1638 at Nonington, Kent, married Jane Birch, died 1665, Sutton, Kent. Children: John (?-1715) of Sutton.

10. Elizabeth Eastes, born 1639/40 at Nonington, Kent.

11. Ellen Eastes, baptized 11 December 1642, Nonington, Kent, died 1729 and buried 26 December 1729 at St Leonard’s, Kent. Married Moses Eastes, 23 December 1667, at Deal, Kent. Moses was baptized 12 November 1643 at St Leonard’s, Kent and died at Deal, 19 March 1707/8 & buried 23 March, at St Leonard’s, Kent. Children: Richard (1667/8-1668), Constant (1669-1708), Aaron (1671) & Samuel (1674/5), of St Leonard’s, Kent. Ellen was the second wife of Moses Eastes, her second cousin once removed.

12. John Eastes, baptized 29 December 1644 at Nonington, Kent.

13. Abraham Eastes, born 1647, probably at Nonington, Kent, married Anne Burton (widow), 29 December 1672, at Worth, Kent. Abraham them immigrated to America and married Barbara, long rumoured to be Barbara Brock, without one shred of evidence. Abraham died November 21, 1720 in King and Queen County, Virginia.

Sylvester and Ellen’s children born between 1626 and 1636 were baptized in Ringwould, but the ones born between 1638 and 1644 were baptized in Nonington. There is no baptismal record for Anne born in 1637 or for our Abraham born in 1647, but based on his brother’s 1644 baptismal record in Nonington, it’s presumed Abraham was born there was well. St. Mary’s church in Nonington is shown below, although we were unable to visit.

St Marys Nonington cropped

St Marys Nonington interior

Nonington is about half way between Ellen Martin’s potiential birth location in Great Hardres (Hadres) and the Ringwould area where the rest of the Estes family was located, although there are no further Estes records and no Martin records in the church records there.

Suffice it to say that indeed, St. Nicholas church in Ringwould is steeped and bathed in the history of the Estes family as well as that of their wives.  Many Estes children, my ancestors, were baptized in this very baptismal font.

St Nicholas Ringwould bapistry

Most of Ellen’s children were baptized here.

Ellen and Sylvester regularly attended church in Ringwould. Sylvester was sometimes a church warden there according to Deal Parish records.

Sylvester died sometime after Abraham’s birth in 1647 and before his wife, Ellen, died, with a will in 1649. The last family record at Ringwould is 1644.

Ellen died in 1649 at Waldershire, just down the road from Ringwould, before she was 50 years of age. Many of her children were young. Abraham, the youngest, was only 2 years old. It must have pained her greatly to know that she was going to leave them, and in doing so, leave them as orphans.

In Ellen’s will, shown below, she tells us who her children are and makes the best provisions she can to care for them. It’s the one peek at her life that we have, directly from her….albeit probably through an attorney or equivalent of the time. One thing is for sure, the woman did have some financial means. This family was not poverty stricken.

Ellen Martin Estes will

In the name of God, Amen, the fifth day of April 1649, I, Elin Estes [sic] of the parish of Waldershire [sic] in the County of Kent widow, being sick in body but in perfect memory thanks be given to God, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following,

First, I bequeath my soul to Almighty God hoping by the mercy and merits of Jesus Christ to enjoy Everlasting life and my body to the Earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named.

First, I give to my son, Thomas Estes, twenty pounds of current money of England to be paid to him as followeth, that is to say, ten pounds at his age of twenty and one years of age and ten pounds when my youngest child shall come to the age of twenty and one years.

Item, I give to my son, Richard Estes, the sum of five pounds when he shall attain to the age of twenty and one years.

Item, I give to my son, Nicholas Estes, fifteen pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain the age of twenty and one years.

Item, I give to my son, John Estes, twelve pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain the age of one and twenty years.

Item, I give to my son, Abraham Estes, the sum of twelve pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain to the age of one and twenty years.

Item, I give to my daughter, Anne Estes, twelve pounds to be paid to her at her age of four and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

Item, I give to my daughter, Silvester Nash, five pounds when my youngest child cometh to the age of twenty and one years.

Item, I give to my daughter, Susan Estes, the sum of twelve pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

Item, I give to my daughter, MaryEstes, ten pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

Item, I give to my daughter, Elizabeth Estes, ten pounds to be paid to her [next few words crossed through but said: “when she shall attain”] at her age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

Item, I give to Ellin Estes, my daughter, ten pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.

And I do nominate and appoint Robert Estes, my son, whole and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I give to my said son, Robert Estes, all my goods, chattels and household stuff paying my debts and legacies and funeral expenses.

In witness that this is my last Will, I do hereby publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in the presence of those whose names are hereunder written:

Thomas Jenkin, John Peers

Ellin Estes, her mark

Her will was proved at London before Sir Nathaniel Brent, Knight, doctor of laws and Master or keeper of the Prerogative Court the sixth day of December in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fifty one by the oath of Robert Estes, the son of the deceased and Executor therein named to whom administration of all and singular the goods, chattels and debts of the said deceased which any manner of ways sworn the same will was granted and committed, he being first legally sworn by virtue of a commission in that behalf issued forth well and truly to administer the same.

I have always wondered why Ellin’s will was probated in London.

At time time of Ellen’s death, she would probably have been attending the church at Waldershare, All Saints Church, which is no longer in service. Like many others in the area, it has a rebuilt Victorian Nave. Jim and I were not able to visit, but it is found on Sandwich Road, Waldershare, near Dover.

The proportions of the building are dramatically affected by the two red-brick chapels on either side of the chancel, both of which were built after Ellen’s death, so the church she knew would have been the original one without the additions.

This is likely where Anne is buried, unless her family took her down the road to Ringwould to be buried with her husband, assuming he was buried at Ringwould. It would be interesting to check the Waldershare church burial records to see if she is listed. For that matter, Sylvester could be buried there as well as Abraham’s christening record.

All Saints Waldershare

All Saints Waldershare interior

Ellen’s eldest son, Robert, born in 1626, would found the Waldershare Estes line. Interestingly, Robert in 1670 and again in 1680 donated money towards the redemption of English captives “out of ye Turkish slavery.

While we have managed to piece together some of Ellen’s short life, we are still left with the question of who her parents were. It feel like it’s most likely that they were all members of the same church and lived in the same area. A young couple has to live in relative proximity to court.

The church in Ringwould was gracious enough to provide their transcribed church records in a binder. I photographed the entire grouping and later extracted the relevant surnames.

Ringwould Church Records

Ringwould church records begin in 1569 and include christenings, burials and beginning in 1572, marriages. I did not copy any beyond 1746. These records were transcribed from the originals and provided at the church in Ringwould, where I photographed the pages and have extracted various surnames from their transcription.

Based on the records shown below, the Martin family in Ringwould, living the before Ellen’s marriage to Sylvester, appear to descend from the progenitor, William, who married first Margaret Clark in 1576 and then Elizabeth Hart in 1584. Both wives died, Elizabeth passing in 1597. The only name resembling Ellen is Emlin born in 1580, which would make this person too old to be having children as late as 1647. Based on these records, there are obviously some records missing, such as Thomas’s wedding and the birth of Nicholas who married in 1621.

From the looks of things, Ellen, if born in roughly 1600 could have been a child of a third marriage of William whose wife died in 1697, although he is referred to as “an aged man” at his death in 1614. If he was just age 25 when he first married in 1576, he would have been 63 in 1614. That was certainly aged for that time. However, even “aged men” could and did father children. Ellen could also have been the daughter of Thomas who would have been age 23 in 1600. If that is the case, then William Martin and Margaret Clarke would have been her grandparents. Of course, it’s also possible that her parents had already passed away and she was sent here to live with Martin relatives. It’s worth noting here that her first male child was named Robert for Sylvester’s father but their second male child is named Thomas. There is no William.


March 5, 1575 – Roger Howell and Beatrix Martyn, married

Nov. 19, 1576 – William Martin and Margaret Clarke, married

April 16, 1677 – Thomas Martyn, son of William christened

Nov. 1, 1579 – Nicholas Martyn, son of William christened

Nov. 8, 1579 – Nicholas Martin, son of William buried

Jan. 22, 1580 – Emlin, daughter of William christened

April 23, 1584 – John Martyn, son of William christened
May 24, 1584 – Margaret Martyn, wife of William buried
June 24, 1584 – William Martyn and Elizabeth Harte married
July 25, 1584 – John, son of William buried

April 21, 1597 – Elizabeth Martyn, wife of William buried

Jan. 10, 1607 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Thomas christened

April 13, 1614 – William Martin, an aged man, buried

April 28, 1614 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Thomas buried

May 29, 1621 – Nicolas Martin and Elizabeth Whitten married

July 23, 1622 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Nicolas christened

Nov. 24, 1625 – Silvester Esties and Ellen Martin married

Was Ellen the daughter of Thomas or William Martin?

Note – In Ellen supposedly was born in Great Hardres, although that location is probably at least 20 miles distant and it begs the question of why the family came to Ringwould, and when. However, familiarity and family ties in that area may also explain why the Estes family moved back in that direction some 10 miles to Nonington during the English Civil War. However, one of her sons did marry someone from Hardres, so it’s certainly possible. This marriage makes me wonder if there were relatives in that area.

July 29, 1627 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas christened
Aug. 6, 1627 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas buried

July 27, 1628 – Jane Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened

Jan. 9, 1630 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas christened

Sept. 15, 1633 – Ellenor Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened

April 12, 1635 – Nicholas Martin, son of Thomas and Elizabeth

Jan 21, 1637 – John Martin, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth

September 13, 1640 – Elizabeth Martin, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth christened

April 4, 1643 – Mary Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened

Nov. 14, 1644 – Wilman Martin, wife of Thomas, buried

Dec. 29, 1647 – John Martin, son of Nicholas buried

March 24, 1664 –William Martin buried

April 16, 1688 – Daniel Martin and Margaret Bradly married

Feb. 28, 1699 – Nicholas Martin, buried

April 16, 1716 – Mary Martin buried

Ellen Martin’s DNA

In order to obtain Ellen’s mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mothers to all of their children, but only passed on by their mother, we would need to find a female child of Ellen who also had female children, to the present generation. In the present generation, the descendant can be a male, so long as they descend from Ellen through all females.

To begin this process, we only have information that two of the daughters lived to adulthood, although we can’t assume that the rest didn’t.

Of the children we know of who did live to adulthood, Ellen married Moses Eastes and had one daughter, Constant, born in 1699, christened at St. Leonard’s Church in Deal, and who subsequently died in 1708.

The other daughter who may have married is Silvester who reportedly married a Nash.

Unfortunately, we have no information about any other daughters, and the presumption is that they died young. Of course, presumptions are related to assumptions.

The only other possibility of obtaining Ellen Martin’s mitochondrial DNA is to figure out who her parents were, and then figuring out if she had any sisters who had daughters to the current generation.

I turned to both Rootsweb and Ancestry to see if perhaps my records were incomplete for this family. Unfortunately, the few female lines there are daughtered out quickly, and as for the rest of the daughters….maybe they didn’t die young. Maybe someone knows something about this family. They don’t seem to have been researched, so perhaps either there is a goldmine waiting to be harvested, or the lines have died out, which is why no one has documented this lineage.

I have a scholarship for either Ellen’s mitochondrial DNA or the Martin Yline from this group of individuals. In the Martin surname project, there seem to be three Martins from Kent, but I can’t tell who is who, assuming that any one of the three could be mine. Bottom line, I would love to have someone from this family line test.

If this is your Martin line, please give me a shout. If nothing else, we can compare records and autosomal DNA!!!

Population Finder Update to be Released Soon

Population FinderOn April 11, 2014, Family Tree DNA released information saying that the Population Finder tool will be updated soon, sometime after April 30th.

I certainly welcome the news of the impending update, and the better news that we’ll be able to compare our ethnicity with our matches.

From Family Tree DNA:

Our new and vastly improved Population Finder is launching in just a few weeks! Soon, you’ll be able to dive into fresh insights about your ethnic origins. You’ll also be able to compare your ethnicity with your Family Finder matches! If you want to share your ethnic origins with your matches, you don’t need to take any action.  You’ll automatically be able to compare your ethnicity with your matches when the new Population Finder becomes available.  This is the recommended option. However, we do understand that sharing your ethnicity with your matches is your choice. Therefore, you may choose not to take part (opt-out). To opt-out, please follow the instructions below by April 30.*

  1. Click this link,
  2. If you are not logged in, do so.
  3. Select the Do not share my ethnic breakdown with my matches radio button.
  4. Click the Save button.

You may read more detailed instructions about this page in our Learning Center. You may also join our forums for discussion.

* You can change your privacy settings at any time. Thus, you may opt-out of or opt back into ethnic sharing at a later date if you change your mind.